Joanna Robles, MD, first began having unusual symptoms in the summer of 2020. She had bouts of nausea and vomiting that she couldn’t explain. Eventually doctors diagnosed her with neuromyelitis optica (NMO), but the initial days were confusing.

“I would have random episodes of retching, vomiting, and hiccups,” says Robles, a 32-year-old pediatric hematologist oncologist from North Carolina. “I felt exhausted and just wanted an answer for why I felt so terrible.”

First, she went to urgent care, then her primary care doctor, then a gastroenterologist to try to find out what was triggering her symptoms. The visits were all within a…


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